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Fritz Nelson
Fritz Nelson
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Apple Records Fantasy Results, Releases Lion

Apple's bubble does not look to burst anytime soon, although the tablet rivals just keep trying.

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Oh Apple, we hear your roar. On the heels of Q3 earnings with a storyline that reads like a fantasy novel, Apple has unleashed its newest operating system release, OS X 10.7 Lion--held, one might suspect, until just the right time. Apple seems to know a thing or two about theater.

iPhone and iPad growth compared to Q3 2010 was stratospheric, and Mac sales also grew. There seems to be an insatiable hunger for Apple products; let's call it the Apple Bubble. No other manufacturer has been able to make even the most minor dent in the tablet wars--a term that must seem almost laughable to Apple right now. Just today, Lenovo announced three new tablets of its own, two of them running Android, one running Windows 7; there's nothing wrong with them, but I'm betting they, too, will be met with little more than a yawn, despite some surprise features.

Apple COO Tim Cook was practically giddy about the gains that tablets seem to be making at the expense of Windows PCs. While he admitted that tablets have had a minimal affect on Mac sales, he noted that the cannibalization opportunity looks much bigger on the Windows side. Nevertheless, Apple also made a handful of moves to revamp a few of its Mac products, notably updating the MacBook Air with Intel's newer Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt technology.

Apple doesn't ever slow down, which is why the company is in this cozy position in the first place. The company doesn't look to be backing down from protecting its intellectual property, either. Cook mentioned that Apple will continue to protect its patents, as the company deals with a number of lawsuits that cut at the heart of how smart phones operate . . . and at the heart of Apple's chief phone rival, Google.

Among the rumors and tidbits swirling around during the past 24 hours, some Apple-watchers speculated that Apple's board has discussed the hunt for a potential successor to CEO Steve Jobs. Several eager Apple fans among our BYTE staff noted that the online Apple store (from which the new OS update is downloaded) was down for a while during the early morning hours, as is typical on an Apple release day.

Indeed, today will likely see an onslaught of Apple fans rushing to download Lion. The OS has been teased and previewed unrelentingly for the past couple of months. Lion not only adds some interesting, gesture-based improvements to the user experience, but also blends in some notable features from Apple's phone and tablet OS. Plus, it enhances the Mac email client and Safari browser. Check out our in-depth review.

Fritz Nelson is the editorial director for InformationWeek and the Executive Producer of TechWebTV. Fritz writes about startups and established companies alike, but likes to exploit multiple forms of media into his writing.

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